What has Gandhi got to do with the recently concluded elections in Delhi? On the face of it nothing. But at another level, the election process, its campaign and its results – all invite us to revisit Gandhi’s stupendous moral-political project of cementing the Hindu-Muslim division with his own blood and his heroic failure. He could not prevent the Partition and ultimately fell to the bullets of a fanatic Hindu nationalist of the kind who are in power today.
I remember Gandhi today because gung-ho secularists (the political community that I inhabit, if very uncomfortably) are once again at their favourite occupation of daring Arvind Kejriwal and AAP to ‘prove’ their ‘anti-communal stance’ and all that it can mean today – as though they alone have the talisman to fight communalism. I am reminded of Gandhi because his was by far the most audacious attempt to fight the communal menace but he too had no readymade answers to it.
Secular warrriors have been basically daring Kejriwal and AAP to do and say things that he had been avoiding doing or saying all these days. Just two instances – of the quotes below from two dear friends – should suffice to indicate what I mean. The first is from Apoorvanand, writing in the Business Standard,
‘Voters in Delhi were confident that the AAP victory in the assembly elections wouldn’t so much as serve as an irritant to the BJP, let alone rock its boat, as the saffron outfit was firmly and safely ensconced in power. An efficient delivery boy is all the electorate wanted. In the Delhi voters mindset, an ideology-agnostic party that does not impede the BJP’s nationalist drive is tolerable.’
Continue reading Winning Delhi Elections – AAP, Gandhi and the Ideology Wars
Three incidents of firing in four days – two in Jamia Millia Islamia and one in Shaheen Bagh – quickly followed open calls to violence (‘goli maro saalon ko‘) by Union minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur and the demonization of Shaheen Bagh protesters by BJP MP Pravesh Verma (‘the protesters will enter your homes and rape and kill your daughters’ if Modi and Shah aren’t there). In the case of the Shaheen Bagh shooter, Kapil Gujjar, the Delhi Police (which has till date not managed to find out the JNU attacker Komal Sharma’s affiliation) was quick to link him to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – an allegation expressly denied by his father. All these episodes, so obviously set up, basically aimed at provoking the protesters into committing some violence that the lapdog television channels would then play up, in their usual hysterical style (some of them may even have appeared on air in police uniform!), to vitiate the atmosphere.
On the very first shooting, one such channel did indeed keep doing precisely that till long after the identity of the shooter (in the clip above) had been clearly established. The clips were circulating almost instantaneously and you can hear the gunman shouting Delhi Police zindabad, and there was little chance of mistaking him for an anti-CAA protester. The channel knew exactly what it was doing and at whose behest but kept on at it till 9 o’clock at night.
Continue reading Delhi Elections and the Difficult Terrain of Antifascist Struggle
(Photo Courtesy : http://www.newslaundry.com)
“He came, he saw and he concurred“
– Caption of a RK Laxman cartoon in early 90 s
AAP’s stand on article 370 has confused and disheartened many.
For its workers the party has opened itself to attacks by its adversaries because of its support to stripping of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and thus weakening its own plank for full statehood for Delhi which was its key slogan during the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign.
A section of its fellow-travelers who had high hopes of the experiment, activists/scholars – who were rather enthused with its ‘participatory’ approach – also feel betrayed or disheartened now.
It is a different matter that not many have made their displeasure known.
May be it is a sign of their increasing fatigue or possible cynicism with politics in general, they have preferred to share their frustrations at private levels only. Continue reading Arvind Kejriwal, Article 370 and a Blind Alley
I write this open letter to you as a well wisher, and someone who has been seriously supportive of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) through all the ups and downs in the years since its formation. Perhaps like many others, I too have high expectations of the experiment that AAP is and the new ground it has tried to break in terms of providing a government that has steadfastly kept the interests of the common person in mind while taking decisions.
But I also write this letter because I, like many others, have been perturbed by some developments which do not augur well for the future either of your party or of the country. The latter in any case, is set on a disastrous course, thanks to the current dispensation at the Centre. Let me also make it clear right away that I am not one of those who criticize AAP for ‘lacking a clear ideology’ and I in fact value the fact that on many critical issues, AAP has been able to resist the pressure to step into well trodden, familiar responses to specific situations and issues – especially well trodden among Leftists. But I do think that AAP needs to think a bit more seriously about politics – which is not the same thing as ideology.
Continue reading Nationalism and Politics – An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal
USS passe rani hai, iss passe Gandhi!”
(“On that side is the Queen, on this is Gandhi)
Nawan Punjab Party’s candidate ex MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi’s election campaign and the way he projected his appeal as ‘battle against the royals’ had rightly evoked interest in a section of the media as well as pro-people circles.(https://www.newsclick.in/electoral-mobilisation-vehicle-rainbow-social-coalition)
It is of interest to know that in this era of money and muscle power politics the campaign was largely run on support generated by people. What is also notable (-do-) that the campaign was successful in building a social coalition – cutting across various fissures in our society – and could challenge “populist fascism of the Bharatiya Janata Party, patronage-based populism of the Congress, and a fractious identity politics of SAD which cannot see beyond its narrow aims. “. Continue reading Rainbow Social Coalition – To What End ?
Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR
Ramesh has been working as a daily wager in a Government of India office in Delhi for ten years. He is one of the army of peons, office assistants, security guards, gardeners, and cleaning staff which government offices, city municipalities, hospitals, schools and colleges of the metropolis employ regularly. He is a graduate, but gets the wage of an unskilled worker. He is among the fortunate ones who at least get government mandated minimum wage. Most private employers in the city violate the minimum wage act; either they pay less than the mandated amount, or make daily wagers work more than eight hours without any overtime.
Ramesh was pleasantly surprised this April when he noted a more than 30% increase in his wages. His daily wage that stood at Rs 360/ earlier was now Rs 513/. This was due to a Government of Delhi notification issued on 3rd March, 2017. The news was covered in the inner pages of some newspapers. Most TV news channels ignored it. Hence, it is not surprising that employees like Ramesh who are not associated with any organsiation of workers were not aware of this increase. Continue reading The Elephant in the Room – Silence on Class Issues in Indian Politics : Sanjay Kumar
ज़ी न्यूज़ के पत्रकार विश्वदीपक ने ज़ी न्यूज़ से इस्तीफ़ा दे दिया. ज़ी न्यूज़ को लिखा उनका ख़त पढ़ने लायक़ है. मीडिया विजिल.कॉम से साभार. An English translation of this piece is available at Scroll.in.
प्रिय ज़ी न्यूज़,
एक साल 4 महीने और 4 दिन बाद अब वक्त आ गया है कि मैं अब आपसे अलग हो जाऊं. हालांकि ऐसा पहले करना चाहिए था लेकिन अब भी नहीं किया तो खुद को कभी माफ़ नहीं कर सकूंगा.
आगे जो मैं कहने जा रहा हूं वो किसी भावावेश, गुस्से या खीझ का नतीज़ा नहीं है, बल्कि एक सुचिंतित बयान है. मैं पत्रकार होने से साथ-साथ उसी देश का एक नागरिक भी हूं जिसके नाम अंध ‘राष्ट्रवाद’ का ज़हर फैलाया जा रहा है और इस देश को गृहयुद्ध की तरफ धकेला जा रहा है. मेरा नागरिक दायित्व और पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी कहती है कि मैं इस ज़हर को फैलने से रोकूं. मैं जानता हूं कि मेरी कोशिश नाव के सहारे समुद्र पार करने जैसी है लेकिन फिर भी मैं शुरुआत करना चहता हूं. इसी सोच के तहत JNUSU अध्यक्ष कन्हैया कुमार के बहाने शुरू किए गए अंध राष्ट्रवादी अभियान और उसे बढ़ाने में हमारी भूमिका के विरोध में मैं अपने पद से इस्तीफा देता हूं. मैं चाहता हूं इसे बिना किसी वैयक्तिक द्वेष के स्वीकार किया जाए.
असल में बात व्यक्तिगत है भी नहीं. बात पेशेवर जिम्मेदारी की है. सामाजिक दायित्वबोध की है और आखिर में देशप्रेम की भी है. मुझे अफसोस के साथ कहना पड़ रहा है कि इन तीनों पैमानों पर एक संस्थान के तौर पर तुम तुमसे जुड़े होने के नाते एक पत्रकार के तौर पर मैं पिछले एक साल में कई बार फेल हुए.
मई 2014 के बाद से जब से श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी भारत के प्रधानमंत्री बने हैं, तब से कमोबेश देश के हर न्यूज़ रूम का सांप्रदायीकरण (Communalization) हुआ है लेकिन हमारे यहां स्थितियां और भी भयावह हैं. माफी चाहता हूं इस भारी भरकम शब्द के इस्तेमाल के लिए लेकिन इसके अलावा कोई और दूसरा शब्द नहीं है. आखिर ऐसा क्यों होता है कि ख़बरों को मोदी एंगल से जोड़कर लिखवाया जाता है ? ये सोचकर खबरें लिखवाई जाती हैं कि इससे मोदी सरकार के एजेंडे को कितना गति मिलेगी ?
Continue reading ज़ी न्यूज़ के पापों से घिन आ रही थी, प्रोड्यूसर विश्वदीपक ने दिया इस्तीफ़ा !